Mala beads have come to become extremely popular among those who practice yoga. The origins of the mala bead are rooted in both Hinduism and Buddhism.
They are commonly known as japa mala and are essentially a type of prayer bead. Along with their religious element, currently mala beads are being used as a tool for mindfulness during meditation, even without any religious nature. The mala beads usually consist of 108 beads along with a larger guru bead. The reason for the number is because 108 is considered a sacred number among Hindus. Along with this, most traditional mala beads also have a tassel at the end of it.
Mala beads have the potential to help with different aspects of the meditation process. This is extremely useful, since meditation is known to have multiple health benefits. It can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and also improve sleep. However, meditation is a difficult process and it has to be done right. A lot of people find the concentration required for meditation hard to do. This is why mala beads become helpful. They can aid meditation in becoming a more mindful process, therefore, making sure that the mind is less likely to wander. The mala beads help with this in two ways. First, there is a repetitive movement of the fingers over the beads, which helps ground people. The second is when each bead is touched with the saying of the mantra, it helps in keeping a track of how many times the mantra has been said.
There are multiple ways in which the mala bead can be used during the process of meditation. The most important thing to do is, to be able to control your breath. Along with this, it is obviously extremely important to say the mantras repeatedly.
One of the ways to control your breath is to simply pay attention to your breathing. In this case, hold the mala with one hand. Make sure that it is draped across your fingers so it is easy to move. Then place your thumb and index finger on the guru bead and complete a breath (inhale and exhale). Once you have finished a breath on one bead, move to the next bead. Complete this by reaching the guru bead once more, which will essentially end up being 108 breaths. You could do another round of this form of meditation by working your way backward on the beads (in the opposite direction).
For the form of meditation where you repeat the mantra, the first step is obviously to pick a mantra. A mantra is basically a word or phrase used to keep focused during the process of meditation. A common mantra used is ‘Om.’ However, it is not necessary that it is the only one you need to pick. Moreover, your mantra does not even always have to be a religious one. If you are meditating and trying to be mindful, you can pick any phrase that works for you. This could include statements that make you feel loved or safe, or anything that aids your current situation and state of mind. With the mantra, you can use the mala bead. You would be using it in a manner quite similar to the previous process. The only difference is that, instead of taking a full breath, at every bead you can say out the mantra. You could either whisper it, or say it out loud, or simply even say it in your mind. There is no one way to go about saying the mantra. Therefore, you can pick whatever way works best for you.
Mala beads are powerful tools that can help you with mindfulness practices. If one understands how to use them effectively, they have immense health benefits for an individual. Meditating properly with mala beads to help for concentration has the potential to increase concentration and help one develop a healthier mind. It is important to remember that a healthy mind promotes a lot of other physical health benefits as well. If you do want to take your experience with your bead mala a notch higher, you could buy one with a gemstone of your choice. However, even simple bead malas have enough potential for a healthier life.